Rhett Finch credits his early success to his team at King Price Insurance

Rhett shares how he fast-forwarded his career from King Price’s CFO to deputy-CEO before the age of 40.

For many finance professionals, becoming a CEO is part of their long-term career strategy. However, Rhett Finch got there in the shorter term.

In August 2020, Rhett was promoted from King Price Insurance’s CFO to deputy CEO at the young age of 35. Asked how he managed to achieve such an important milestone in his career during a CFO South Africa podcast, sponsored by Sage, Rhett said “by working hard, focusing on your dreams, goals and the future”.

A fast-forward career wasn’t a personal strategy for Rhett, but by focusing on what really energised him, the opportunity presented itself. “While you are working hard and making a difference, you’ll find your own purpose, and the rest will follow,” he said.

Rhett, who won the Finance Transformation Award at  he 2020 CF Awards, doesn’t credit this incredible achievement purely to his own hard work; instead, he believes that it was his team that defined his success. “Our performance is a result of the teams we work in, rather than ourselves,” he said.

The transition from CFO to deputy CEO happened almost seamlessly, as Rhett, who was one of the handful of start-up employees in 2012, again credits this to his relationship with his team. “The foundation of leadership is built off a relationship of trust that comes slowly over time. My team and I have rolled up our sleeves over the past eight years and built the company from the ground up, forming a really strong sense of trust,” he said.

He explained that the finance background of having served as the CFO has created a significant advantage transitioning into the deputy CEO role. “Having been a CFO, you really understand the financial backbone of the company and what the key drivers and levers are that you need to pull to make a difference. Aligning that understanding creates clarity within the strategy and vision of the company.”

While the role and the responsibilities of the deputy CEO and CFO roles are very different, there’s been a slow change between the two roles and the lines that separated them have been blurring over the last number of years. “The CFO hasn’t been restricted to a simply finance role, but rather a 50-50 role between the numbers and the operations of the business. This has now moved to a 80-20 split, with 80 being more of a strategic operational leadership role.”

You can find out more about Rhett’s formula for success in the latest CFO South Africa podcast, where he and Water & Energy SETA CEO Mpho Mookapela talk about the challenges and opportunities of being young leaders.